East Anglia: New Anglia LEP launches Business Information Portal (BIP) to support growth

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

Andy Wood, chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - Credit: Archant

NEW Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is launching a newly re-designed website to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access the help and information they need to set up and grow their enterprises.

Research shows that businesses which take advice are more likely to succeed and, with the ending of the regional Business Link service, New Anglia aims to ensure that firms are able to access, quickly and easily, information which could help them grow.

The new Business Information Portal (BIP) – which can be found at www.bizinfoportal.co.uk – brings together hundreds of local and national sources of business support in a simple to access format.

It will help businesses and individuals access information on a wide range of subjects ranging from finance to exporting, from resource efficiency to contract opportunities. Users are provided with information tailored to their local area and focused on topics they select from an easy-to-use menu.

Registers users can opt to receive a weekly or monthly email showing recent additions to the portal which are relevant to their businesses and an events section will include “webinars”, so that users can take part in virtual events and training courses.

Andy Wood, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “Businesses simply don’t have the time to trawl through different websites, which means that they are missing out on the help that is out there.

“The new, enhanced Business Information Portal is free. It pulls together hundreds of different sources of local information and provision alongside national sources of information and helps users find what they really need.

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“Small and medium sized enterprises are the lifeblood of our economy and the Business Information Portal will be a powerful tool to help them grow.”

David Martin, director of Commend Business Development said: “As a business adviser, I have spoken to hundreds of businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk about their ambitions, issues and frustrations.

“ While the areas of concern are very diverse in detail, they can be summarised into three main areas: how to set up in business, how to raise finance and how to tackle the current perceived barrier to progress. Two of these apply equally to new and existing businesses.”

“Business Support services can similarly be summarised into some primary categories; providing reliable and up to date information on business issues, providing face to face advice when information is simply not enough, and facilitating access to finance for business development.

“Mapping business support is complex because these three core topics are accompanied by a number of related themes, such as finding suppliers, accessing training, compliance with legislation, and so on.

“There is a yet another dimension when recognising that business support services are provided by national, regional and local organisations and many are exclusive, available only to businesses in (for example) selected geographical areas or industries.

“The New Anglia Business Information Portal draws on the knowledge and experience of local businesses, business support professionals and information experts to capture this entire spectrum of services, complementing Government funded provision with locally based services.

“A great deal of work has gone in to the development of a web based portal that, now in its second generation, is easy to use and responsive to each business user.

This is not a single task, that is now considered complete. Rather it is a commitment from New Anglia LEP that recognises the importance of business support and the need for a locally owned and regularly updated resource that signposts to the information and advice that businesses need.”

Tony Franklin, associate at Suffolk-based Martello Associates, which provides advice on online marketing, welcomed the launch.

“We believe the Business Information Portal provides a unique gateway to a wide range of local and national business support and information to help businesses grow and develop,” he said.

“The portal also provides information tailored for young entrepreneurs requiring specialist advice and guidance as they grow their start-up and early stage businesses.”